England: Solicitor sitting on jury jailed after researching defendant
A solicitor sitting on a criminal jury has been jailed after researching a defendant online and sharing her findings with other jurors.
Caroline Elizabeth Mitchell, whose actions led to the collapse of a child sexual abuse trial, has resigned from her position as an associate solicitor with Irwin Mitchell LLP and now faces being struck off, The Law Society Gazette reports.
The 53-year-old solicitor pleaded guilty in Leeds Crown Court to disclosing information to other jurors and has now been sentenced to two months’ imprisonment.
Judge Guy Kearl QC, the Recorder of Leeds, said: “I don’t doubt you didn’t intend to undermine the course of justice but that is the effect of what you were doing.”
Ms Mitchell, as a solicitor, knew “the importance of court orders and the consequences of breaching them”, he added, and concluded that “appropriate punishment can only be found by an immediate custodial sentence”.